The financial crisis has affected the majority of industries here in the United States, including the green toilet paper industry. The chlorine-free, dioxin-free pulp mill in Samoa, Calif., which would have produced chlorine-free toilet paper, was unable to secure funding and will be permanently closing its door. After its closure, there will be no chlorine-free/dioxin-free pulp mills left in the United States.
Although the facility has been facing problems since the 1990s, it gained new life earlier this year when Bob Simpson and the Freshwater Tissue Company bought out the facility. Unfortunately, the banking crisis and the inability of the company to secure stimulus funding led to the closure decision.
Had funding been secured, Freshwater Tissue would have provided nearly 3,000 green jobs in an area that is facing higher than average unemployment rates. Samoa is in Humboldt County, which is facing a 10.3 percent unemployment rate. Although there is not a specific unemployment figure for Samoa, which is an unincorporated area, nearby Eureka, Calif., reported an 11 percent unemployment rate in September 2009. Source: California Employment Development Department (XLS)
Although this paper mill is in a rural area in California, environmental advocacy groups are upset over the closure.
Rick Hind, legislative director of Greenpeace said of the closure, “It’s outrageous that the federal government, which just offered $55 million for experimental ‘clean coal’ technologies, could not find a penny for a proven chlorine-free pulp mill and the green jobs it would support.” Source: Freshwater Tissue
While a lot of the Recovery Act-related news I’ve reported lately is positive, unfortunately every story doesn’t have a happy ending. Bob Simpson, the Freshwater Tissue Company, and the residents in the Samoa, Calif., area are now left to contend with an empty building and higher than average unemployment.